"Asonimaghaugwa (Pity and the verbal expression of sympathy are not the solutions to human problems.)"
The Anaang rely on each other to navigate the problems of life. Help when offered and received is not seen as weakness. In fact such help is expected and those who fail to lend a helping hand are seen as violating the norms of the society. Parents expect the children to help them in old age and older siblings are responsible for raising the younger ones. Neighbors look out for each other and kinship is defined not only by blood but through the bond of closeness in the community. When such closeness is violated through the lack of a helping hand the community becomes the less through such behavior. Our people believed that helping a neighbor in need is through action and not words. The verbal expression of sympathy and pity may have their place in human relationships but such words may not be of much value if they are not accompanied by action. There is a limit to words and the usefulness of such words stop when action is required. It is when we act that solutions are found.
The need for human action in the face of human problems has always been acknowledged and many people have written that words when accompanied by actions can do more than just words alone. St. James reminded the early Christians in a letter to the church that the familiar Christian greeting of “go in peace” is useless when offered to a hungry person with physical needs. He went on to tell the church that it is not just enough to have faith since faith without work is a dead faith. To hold on to hope without an effort to work and change the situation does not serve us well. To engage in self pity rather than self-improvement is an effort in futility. Yes, it is true that we must acknowledge that we have a problem as the beginning point of solving such a problem; but if we stop at just the naming of the problem without moving towards taking the steps to solve such a problem then we are doing ourselves a disservice. Self pity does not take us anywhere except towards depression.
Someone once said that the physical world has no time for sentimentalities. Those who do not stand up and care for themselves stand the risk of being crushed under the weight of the laws of the universe. The body must be cared for or it undergoes atrophy. Food must be secured to avoid hunger; shelter must be secured to avoid the elements outside. Whether you are young or old, man or woman, rich or poor the world requires some action for us to stay fit and healthy. For life to continue as it was meant to be, we must do something and action of some kind is required. No wonder our forebears agreed that empty words of pity though they may have their place are not solutions to human problems. Do you have a problem that you are struggling with and is there something that you can do? Solution to individual problems comes when we are purposeful in our actions. May you continue to keep faith as a quest and may you discover the strength to bring together what is torn apart.
Adede (Dr.) Ezekiel Ette
For Annang Writers Association (A division of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc.)
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DISCLAIMER: Views expressed here are solely that of the author and do not represent the official position of Annang Heritage Preservation Inc. or any of its affiliate.